I saw or read in the news how people get great satisfaction and feel that justice is served when criminals are caught and sentenced to death. Does this have anything to do with getting even or seeking revenge? What if the criminal executed, like the thief crucified next to Jesus, goes to heaven and you own present spiritual state in this world really isn't in any great shape ~ how do you feel now? What I want to say is that Jesus made it clear to us that we are not to judge others and that God will judge us as we judge them. True justice is served by God alone in the end. Our work in this life is to forgive.
"Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
With a finite mind, I just could not see how there can be infinity. Is the universe infinite in its size? We've been told that the earth is around 4.5 billion years old and how the big bang started even before then, but when was the real beginning? Maybe there is no beginning nor end because time has always been around.
Now, once you believe that God is infinite in every way, you no longer question infinity. To question infinity is to question God. To have a finite God is no better than having no God at all. What's even more amazing is that our God is our Father and his love and mercy for us are also infinite. Otherwise, all of us, who are sinners, would be doomed. The Father wants to save us in the best way possible. To reject infinity is to reject yourself.
From Luke, we learned that Joseph and Mary discovered that the boy Jesus was missing after journeying a whole day on their return from the feast of Passover held in Jerusalem. I always wondered how that could have happened until I read the revelations to Mary of Agreda as recorded in The Mystical City of God. In those days, the separation of men and women among the pilgrims during their return homeward was customary and the children were taken in charge either by the men or the women. So it happened that both Mary and Joseph separately supposed that Jesus was with the other parent. There are more details given in the book. At any rate, I believe that there's always an explanation for what may seem inconsistent or unlikely to happen outwardly in the Gospels. I remember one person rejected Christianity because he didn't see how Jesus could call himself both Son of God and Son of Man at the same time. I believe that all things were clear to the Gospel writers, so there's no reason for them to give extra explanations.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 4, people were astonished at the teaching of Jesus because he spoke with authority. They were also amazed that with power and authority Jesus commanded unclean spirits. In the Gospels, we read how the scribes and Pharisees repeatedly tested Jesus, trying to trip him; never once did they succeed. The all-knowing Lord had all the answers. He even read people's minds and hearts. All proofs that he is God. Yes, he was put to death, but that's what he had willed. We do go against his will, but that's because he had given us the free will and we misuse it. All authority and power is his. Banish all thoughts that we can rebel and come out on top. Total obedience is the way to go.
Monday, August 29, 2011
"Do not reply upon anything that's limited, unstable, and transient." This statement should be sensible to all. So we should put our trust in something that's infinite, constant, and eternal. What do you know ~ God turns out to be the only answer! And Jesus came into the world and made God intimate and personal to us ~ how much better can it get?
A friend calls up to tell you that he can no longer come to see you for whatever reason and you start to think that perhaps he really doesn't want to see you. The human mind is always conjuring up disruptive thoughts. The Holy Spirit wants us to dismiss outright all thoughts that disturb our inner peace. In the case above, even if your friend tells you that he truly doesn't like you, don't dwell upon it but go right back to the Lord. Since God's love for you is ever present, only how you love him back matters. Let everything else go that disturbs your peace.
Those who are not afraid to seek God will gain even the courage to become holy after they find him. On the other hand, whose who are afraid to face God will hide in fear that worsens as they approach the end of their life. (But the Lord, being infinitely merciful, always leaves the door open, should you change your mind and decide to turn around while there's still time.)
Today is the Memorial of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist. John was fearless in telling Herod that it's unlawful for him to have his brother's wife, and Herod actually feared him. We can be fearless too in God's presence. As Paul says in Romans 8: "If God is for us, who can be against us?" We can be fearless in speaking the truth, in taking up our crosses ~ in fact, under all circumstances. Being fearless brings freedom of the heart, while those who do evil remain in turmoil.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Matthew 16, Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." For some, talking less and listening more to others will be a form of self-denial. To follow the Lord requires listening for his voice first, and this would be difficult, if not impossible, if we do not know how to be silent.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
At morning Mass, I was so happy that I didn't mind dying right then to be with Jesus. Then I realized that my time was not up yet and if I desired a happier ending, I should make sure that my inner self dies first before my natural death takes place, the former death being extremely important and the latter, relatively immaterial. Two deaths are definitely preferable over one.
Today's Communion verses from Matthew 13 read: "The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one rare pearl he sells everything he has and buys it." Jesus is that rare pearl. How blessed are those who have searched and found it!
Jesus, our Lord and God, came into our world and he was crucified. Today the world hasn't changed much. He is here to save us and we blaspheme him. He waits for our return to God and we totally ignore his presence. He can give us all we need to have peace and we shut him out of our hearts. He wants us to have eternal life with him and we couldn't care less. Is this the way to treat Everlasting Love? Do we even have a heart? Nothing can be worse than to forget where we came from. Nothing can be more foolish than forging ahead with blinds over our eyes. The proud shall not see God ~ how true! I feel sorry for us, not the Lord.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Pope John Paul II wrote Theology of the Body, which I haven't read yet. Father at morning Mass brought it up. He said that if we understand that theology, we would view each person as a Person and never as an Object. All persons are to be loved and respected and never to be used like objects for our own gain or advantage. It's clear to me that if everyone practices this theology, there will be peace in the whole world ~ no more wars, no more abortion on demand, and no more atrocious news in the news. Let's take the first step by practicing this theology ourselves.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 25 at Mass, the Parable of the Ten Virgins was read. In it, Jesus tells how when the bridegroom showed up unexpectedly, the five wise virgins were ready and went into the wedding feast with him, while the five foolish virgins who were not ready were locked out. I'll always remember the haunting verses near the end in Luke 17. Jesus said that on the night he is revealed, "there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. And there will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken, the other left.” Could this mean that our own family may be split up? I think so. We must work and pray for the salvation of all family members before it's too late. Earlier this morning I saw a life insurance commercial on TV. Just want to point out that buying life insurance to protect your family is absolutely no help here.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Way back for many years I watched TV on a black-and-white set. Then I finally switched to a colored set and I must admit that the viewing experience became more satisfying. In high school, it's easy to think that we have learned a lot until we find out more in college. In fact, I thought I was pretty good in mathematics until a 14-year-old in the same university honor class scored twice as high as the best of the rest on every single test.
People are flocking to see a current Picasso exhibit at a museum not too far away. Some friends wonder why I, being artistic in nature, have no desire to go see it. All I can say is that all is relative. Once you have tasted the Lord, everything else just loses its flavor. Relative to God, everything is "inferior" now. You have tasted the best and the best has made you see things right. The truth is that there's nothing true satisfying beyond God.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The theme for me today is "Joy." It started at morning Mass, celebrating the Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle. Kneeling before the altar, I feel the joy of worshipping God, adoring him. The Gospel reading from John 1 tells how Nathanael (Bartholomew) found Jesus. And I feel that joy of finding the Lord. The Communion verses from Luke 22 read: "I will give you the kingdom that my Father gave to me, and in that kingdom you will eat and drink at my table." Hearing them read certainly brings even more joy to the heart.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
We don't live in this world forever, so why get attached to it? When we die, it's like the whole world leaving us, saying goodbye to you. There is really no point of hanging onto something that passes. Start living free now. Our everlasting, loving Father is the one and only one worth holding onto.
Got a new battery for my car, so I was able to go to Mass this morning. During Eucharistic Prayer, I heard the priest, while consecrating the wine, say "...this is the cup of my blood... It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven." I had heard this countless times, but today those last four words hit me. Only God has the power to forgive our sins! It's a tremendous grace available to us. Whether your sins are forgiven or not makes all the difference ~ the difference between eterrnal union with God and Eternal separation from him. Always take the Lord's words seriously, for he offers us only love.
Monday, August 22, 2011
After watching Brent Stubbs, former Pentecostal, on Journey Home on EWTN, the following thoughts were generated in my mind.
Protestants are bound by the Bible. Anything that's not found in the Bible is excluded. Catholics are free from the Bible as the teachings of the Lord were handed down through tradition before the Bible came into being. Naturally, the Bible does not contain all the teachings and whatever is in it merely supports what the Church has been teaching all along.
The next two thoughts are practically direct quotes from Brent.
(1) Protestant churches are pulpit-centered, while Catholics churches are altar-centered.
(2) In receiving the Holy Eucharist, Jesus comes to us. This got me thinking. We just wait (for him) and he comes to (into) us ~ what a beautiful thought!
I couldn't go to Mass this morning because my car battery was totally dead. It's an old 1999 battery and had obviously served its purpose. The lesson here is that I should adapt myself to the situation and not fret nor complain. It's a form of offering our sufferings up to God. What happened was a blessing in disguise. Trust God always.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Many things we do are obviously done for the glory of God. For example, we visit the sick, witness to others about God's love and mercy, etc. But what about other mundane things such as dusting the house, shopping for food, etc.? What about even less pleasant things such as paying for a traffic violation, repairing damages done to your property by others, etc.? The Lord shows me that all things are to be done patiently for his glory, so long as what you do is not sinful in itself.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Pride is like hot air, so anyone who has a lot of pride is like a hot air balloon. Too much pride and he is set afloat and loses his footing. And pride becomes his downfall when he suffers a setback as happens to a balloon when it's punctured by a pin.
This is the word I received from the Lord today at Mass. Never follow another human person, not matter how charismatic he or she may be. Follow Jesus alone. If you witness a miracle, whether it's true or false, and your faith gets greatly bolstered, praise Jesus alone and forget about the "miracle." If some Catholics turn you off, still keep your faith and forget about them. The center focus must be on Jesus. Without distractions, you will be safe with the Lord.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Many years ago I read somewhere that the great Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau did not believe in God and I felt sad for him. I just hope that he did change his mind before he died in 1991. In the documentary on the Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter, who was definitely one of the world's best, I was again saddened to hear him say that he did not like himself. God gave him the genius, yet he had such low self-esteem.
A good test question: Do you like yourself? If your answer is in the negative, then you don't know the love of God yet.
I switched on EWTN to check on World Youth Day in Madrid and caught the young people doing publicly the Stations of the Cross. They just arrived at the 13th station, Jesus is taken down from the cross. I knew that Jesus had already expired. Now he's being taken down by others from the cross ~ he was dirty, bloody, and looking completely helpless. Yet, this is the one in whom I can place my total trust and who can help, protect, and save me. Wonder of wonders!
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 22, Jesus gave us the two great commandments. (1) You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." (2) "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
The second commandment shows that he equates loving our neighbors to loving God. It just shows how selfless he is and this was substantiated by his own sacrifice on the cross.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Recently, I read about the alleged scandal at the University of Miami, FL, involving 72 athletes over eight years. The accusations were made by a convicted Ponzi con-man and Miami booster. In his tell-all to Yahoo Sports, he revealed how he treated the athletes to strip club parties, paying for prostitutes and catering to their every need. In one case, he said he even paid for an abortion for a woman one of the athletes had impregnated! You could say that Sodom and Gomorrah still exist today.
The Gospel reading this morning was taken from Matthew 22, in which Jesus told the parable of the wedding banquet. It illustrates the situation of today perfectly. A king gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. He did it a second time and some still ignored the invitation and the rest laid hold of his servants, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops to destroy the murderers. Then he asked the servants to gather all they could find in the streets, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment, he had his attendants cast the man into the darkness outside. At the end, the Lord said, "Many are invited, but few are chosen." This should serve as a warning to us. God's invitation is to be taken seriously ~ it's an invitation to live the eternal life with him. The choice is ours.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
In today's reading from Matthew 20, Jesus told the parable about the landowner who paid all workers in his vineyard the same wage at the end of the day whether they had started at the beginning, later, or in the last hour. This seemed unfair and the workers hired earlier grumbled. The owner responded, "My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?"
The lessons for us are: (1) God has the right to do what he pleases, (2) He will never shortchange us, (3) How others are rewarded by him is not our business, and (4) We are to be content with what he gives us (if God is going to grant us eternal life, we should be happy even if we are the last ones to get into heaven).
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I watched the beginning of World Youth Day live from Madrid, Spain, on EWTN. Seeing how exuberant the youths were, I sensed the beautiful communion I had with God, all the saints, the Holy Father, and all those now celebrating in Spain. The oneness of all those who love the Lord, sharing the same faith, fills me with great happiness.
Today's Gospel reading is taken from Matthew 19. Jesus said to his disciples, "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God." The "eye of a needle" has been interpreted as a gate in Jerusalem, which opened after the main gate was closed at night. A camel could pass through this smaller gate if it was stooped and had its baggage removed. While the road to hell is wide and downhill, the road to heaven is narrow and steep. To get through that eye of a needle, we'll have to detach ourselves from our material things as well as dropping our spiritual baggage consisting of pride, greed, envy, etc.
At morning Mass Today, when I came to saying "I have sinned through my own fault" in reciting the Penitential Act, I was particularly struck by the phrase "through my own fault." Indeed, I cannot sin through someone else's fault; neither can others sin through mine. When I am being judged before the Lord, I cannot blame anyone else for my sins. We are the source of our own sins.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Today is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is our loving intercessor and a great model for us to imitate. Her most notable virtue is humility. Humility is not believing that we are the lowest and letting everyone trample on us or that we are useless and thereby remain idle. True humility is selfless obedience to the will of God, which may call forth our courage, boldness, and resolve.
A footnote. Humility also takes the form of not speaking unfavorably about anyone or making someone look bad before others. I am still working on it.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
I have personally known so many sad cases of the human state. Their minds are occupied with problems. Basically, they are mired in their own misery, yet they do not turn to the Lord for help. Mind you, these are already avowed Christians. I just want to shout at the top of my voice to ask them to please turn to Jesus, the only hope and one who can truly free us. Yet, they are deaf to any such suggestion. The heart, once hardened, is surely hard to crack open. Perrsistent prayers for them are needed.
Whether you have seen a Star Wars movie or not, you probably know what a lightsaber is. I mention this because what appeared in my mind was the picture of the Holy Spirit as an almost transparent sword emitting pure light. As you wield this sword, the length of the blade changes, depending upon where the person you want to touch is and there's no limit as to how long you can extend this sword. When the Holy Spirit touches a receptive person, he kindles the fire of his love in that person. Thus touched, a devout person will love the Lord even more and a sinful one will feel sorry for his trespasses and be drawn back to God. If you know that the Holy Spirit dwells within you, use this great weapon for the glory of God.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Today's Responsorial Psalm response reads: "His mercy endures forever." The Gospel reading is from Matthew 19, in which Jesus made it clear that when a man is joined to his wife, the two become one flesh and that what God has joined together, man must not separate. So marriage is forever too. We also know that God's promises to us will never be withdrawn and his love for us is everlasting. Such a God is to be trusted.
The prayers of this Novena to the Holy Spirit are so beautiful that I want to say them even without any specific request to make. Please go to: http://www.catholicdoors.com/prayers/novenas/p00012.htm
Thursday, August 11, 2011
When we pray, we should ask for things that will glorify God only. If we pray for good health, the reason must be such that we may serve him better. If we pray for our enemies, it must be for their salvation for the glory of God ~ whether they will cease to be our enemies or not should not be of our concern. Unselfish prayers that emanate purely out of love for God will go straight to the divine heart.
When we see God, we'll have to render an account of what we did in this life ~ our present deeds have eternal consequences! The smart way is to start rendering an account as we perform each deed now, then we'll have nothing to worry about later.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Recently, I asked the Holy Spirit to take over my life. While praying the Novena to the Holy Spirit for one of my intentions, I was totally bowled over by the beauty and warmth of the Holy Spirit. If Jesus is like a brother to us, then the Holy Spirit is like a best friend, comforting, guiding, and keeping us company. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit ~ he dwells deep within our heart, but will engulf and permeate us to the extent we'll let him. He is simultaneously gentle dove and fiery fire. What a great blessing to have the Holy Spirit purify, transform, and shape us!
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Earthly pleasures are, well, earthbound ~ the more you enjoy them, the more you feel weighed down. On the other hand, spiritual joys come from above ~ the more you receive them, the more you are uplifted and freed from the world.
After morning Mass, I prayed for a friend, a mother who had just delivered a premature baby. Both needed prayer. I knew that the Lord loves them and wanted me to pray for them, so the prayer went "comfortably" well. It's like a perfect match: God wanted me to pray and I prayed as he wanted. It is a great feeling when the Lord and you are on the exact same wave length, you might say. Again, this points to total union as the ultimate joy.
The last post was about the provocative (desecrating) art exhibit in the Philippines. The artist's name is Mideo Cruz. The exhibit enraged so many people that it finally closed down. Emotionally, I did feel like punching him in the face too; but in morning prayer before Mass, the Lord made it very clear to me that I was to feel pity on all enemies and to pray for them. This means that we must treat all others with his mercy.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Right now, an art exhibit in the Philippines is provoking great outrage because the exhibition desecrated the sacred, all in the name of cultivating artistic expression. Out of reverence for the Lord, I don't even want to describe one exhibit that includes a crucifix. Another one shows a statue of Jesus with the ears of Mickey Mouse. Of course, the Lord could instantly wipe out both the artist and his works if he so wishes, but he doesn't. When he was on earth, he remained meek and humble, always turning the other cheek, finally offering himself to be crucified on the cross. This art exhibit is just one example of the billions of sins committed against the Lord every day throughout the whole world. His love and mercy are so great that he endures them all. It's totally accurate to say that people condemn themselves, while God wants to save them. Such a great, loving God deserves all our love and adoration.
Which of the following moves the Lord the most when we pray? (1) We pray with beautiful words, (2) We prayer on our knees, (3) We pray vocally, (4) We pray when we are holy. Actually, the answer is none of the above. God is most pleased when we pray with total sincerity from the heart.
Today's Communion verses are from Matthew 19. "I solemnly tell you: those who have left everything and followed me will be repaid a hundredfold and will gain eternal life." This is another paradox. To give up your own life for Jesus' sake and you will live. To forge your own desires and follow his wishes and you will be free. To deny yourself and you'll be accepted by him. To be meek and humble and you'll be exalted. These are different ways of saying more or less the same truth. Make sure that God always comes first and you'll be right behind him.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Today I am just thinking how good it is to have faith in Christ. This faith in the true God is such a beautiful gift from him that it's more precious than my life. It connects me to God, enabling me to receive and learn love from him. It guides me unerringly. By it, I am transformed. To have this faith is to have God and all his blessings. As for the whole world, I am letting it go.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The Gospel reading is from Matthew 17:1-9. When Jesus was transfigured, his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white like light ~ this was even more stunning than his walking on water. (Then everything about Jesus was extraordinary.) Moses and Elijah appeared to converse with him. Peters, James, and John who were with him were obviously dumbfounded and Peter blabbed that he would make three tents there, one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. Really, what else can you say when you witness such a glorious sight? Then a voice came from a bright, overhead cloud, saying: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." Yes, we should pay attention to the command "listen to him," as it is logical, sensible, and wise for us to obey, unless you don't believe that the transfigured Jesus is the Lord.
Friday, August 5, 2011
During meditation after Mass, I recollected some of the mistakes I've made in the past. The Holy Spirit showed me that I must never stop learning from him even though I have gone wrong. I should not be so harsh on myself that I get discouraged. Instead I must remain humble, continue learning, and be benefited by the mistakes. The positive things about having recognized past mistakes are that it forces me to deal with them now with greater trust in God and that in the future I must search my heart harder for the will of God before venturing into anything new.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
I am praying a Novena to the Holy Spirit requesting a certain favor, today being the 4th day. After finishing the prayers, I decided to ask the Holy Spirit to take over my life completely in every area. What better guides than the Holy Spirit are there? None! The Holy Spirit is all one needs to walk in the way of God in this life.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
This morning after Mass, I sought God's will on a certain matter. I needed him to show me exactly what I should do. He made the following clear to me:
Make sure that (1) you are not just seeking an easy way out, (2) you don't just want to avoid confrontation, (3) you are not being greedy or seeking personal gains, (4) you are not trying to get even with or take revenge on someone, (5) you don't take the try-&-see-what-happens approach, and (6) you get yourself out of my way so that I may show you clearly what I want you to do. Then do it with no concern about what others may think.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
I got well enough to resume going to morning Mass. Praise Jesus. The sickness made me appreciate every moment of life even more ~ it is not to be squandered away, but to be consumed in serving God. I did not receive any strong thoughts for posting today; during Mass I just had a yearning for the Holy Spirit to teach me anything ~ a hunger for spiritual learning. Any wisdom or "revelation" received from God is so much more exciting, rewarding, and beneficial than knowledge picked up at a scholarly institution. It affects the heart and delights the soul.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Today is the Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori. The Communion verse, John 15.16, reads: "You have not chosen me; I have chosen you. Go and bear fruit that will last."
It got me thinking. Jesus was actually telling us that God initiates the calling and we merely respond. God is the source of all graces and we are the receptacles. We really have nothing that's ours to give. To start out, God made the whole of each of us. We came into this world empty-handed. If I consider anything that's already here mine, I would be like a robber taking what really doesn't belong to him. This awareness helps me to remain humble and be detached from all things. We are nothing and we cannot truly own anything ~ we can only belong (to God preferably). Our duty is to follow God always.